What Is a Binding Estimate in Cross-Country Moving Quotes?

Long Distance MovingWhen you ask for cross-country moving quotes, you will most likely get one of two types. One is a non-binding estimate. The other is a binding estimate. Most movers will give you non-binding estimates. However, you should ask for a binding one. Below are the basics of a binding estimate.


Binding estimates mean just that: it is binding. You will only pay the quoted amount. It does not matter if the final weight of the shipment is not the same as the amount in the quote.

You might have to pay a fee for a binding estimate. One variation of this is a binding not-to-exceed estimate. This means you will not pay more if the weight is more than what is in the estimate.

However, if the weight is less, you will also pay less than the estimated cost. This is the best kind of estimate for controlling your moving costs.

The Rules for Movers

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, the movers have to follow some rules for a binding estimate.

The first one is that it should include a full description of the moving services. You should get a separate bill for any added services, such as flight charges. The estimate should clearly state it is binding for the services included in the quote.

It should be in writing, and you should get a copy before the day of the move. The mover keeps one copy and must attach it to the bill of lading. If the mover starts loading, this means they confirm and accept the binding estimate.

The Rules for the Client

The FMCSA rules also apply to you as the client. You have to pay the estimated cost upon delivery of your things with cash, cashier’s or certified check, or money order. If you do not, the mover can keep your things in storage until you do. You will have to pay for the storage fees.

The mover could choose to accept your credit card or extend you credit. If the movers think you added stuff not included in the quote, they may refuse to load your things.

You could negotiate with them to move the additional things, but this may invalidate the binding estimate. To avoid this, you should include everything you want to move from the start.

A binding not-to-exceed estimate is the best type of cross country moving quotes. It helps you control your costs. Giving you one is also a good sign you are dealing with a reputable company.